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We are used to our phones improving each year, with each generation a little faster with little better screens and little better cameras.
We are also used to some features such as battery life going backwards. Durability is another one of those features that tend to get worse with each generation, as screens become larger and more and more glass finds its way into our handsets.
It seems for this generation Samsung managed to defy convention, as their newest flagship handsets are actually more durable than last year’s versions, despite having thinner bezels and glass backs for wireless charging.
Consumer reports tested the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in a tumbler and reports:
To test the durability of smartphones, we submit them to 100 drops in a tumbler. This ensures that they strike the bottom of the machine at myriad angles, simulating a wide range of falls.
After just 50 drops in our tumbler, the displays on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were badly broken and not functional. The S9 phones performed much better, though. The S9 made it through 100 drops with just minor scratches. The S9+ survived the first 50 drops without a problem but cracked at some point in the next 50.
The result is truly impressive and was part of the reason Samsung’s new handsets top Consumer Report’s list of the best smartphones.
The other is much-improved audio from the new AKG-tuned stereo speaker. They did have some complaints, saying the camera oversharpen pictures, and that battery life has dropped from 26 hours for the S8 to 22.5 hours for the S9 and 24 hours for the S9+, down from the 25.5 hours of the S8+.
Overall these issues were considered minor in the bigger scheme of things, and given how fragile our phones have become a win based on improved durability is a win for the whole industry, which will hopefully be inspired to make stronger phones.